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The Extreme Right Ate The Republicans' Lunch... And Then Ate The Republicans Themselves

How An Extremist Like MAGA Mike Was Elected Speaker

Remember when you thought Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy were far right extremists? Does the GOP seem more radical, authoritarian and even fascistic than it used to be? It should… because it is. The party has become increasingly aligned with white evangelical Christian nationalists, who have literally no allegiance to democracy and think God is on their side so… anything goes. The alliance has helped create a new energized Republican base while contributing to the Republican Party's embrace of extremism and more nationalistic rhetoric. Meanwhile, the party itself has become increasingly polarized, with moderates being pushed out and replaced by the kids of extremists the GOP was once wary of. As you’ve no doubt noticed, this shift has made the party less willing to compromise and has also led to a more confrontational approach to politics. Add two more toxic ingredients to this putrid stew:

1- the rise of Señor Trumpanzee, a New York conman, with divisive rhetoric and authoritarian tendencies, which totally emboldened the party's most radical elements and gave them a louder voice within the party; and

2- misinformation and disinformation became easier to spread with the rise of social media, especially among the kinds morons attracted to fascism, authoritarianism and Trump, a major factor in the radicalization of the Republican Party. Far right media outlets and social media echo chambers have created a feedback loop in which misinformation is reinforced and amplified.

Don’t go yet; there’s more. Political realignment is playing a significant role in the GOP’s shift towards extremism. Driven by the Great Depression and the Democrats’ response, there was a New Deal realignment that helped the Democratic Party become dominant for decades, as it gained support from working-class voters, African Americans and other minority groups. Then the Civil Rights backlash realignment (starting with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965) saw the Democratic Party crash and burn in the South, as white voters opposed to the party's support for civil rights for African Americans became Republicans virtually overnight. More recently we’re seeing a third realignment with the decline of traditional working-class jobs and a decline in support for unions and a shift towards more conservative economic views, largely driven by susceptibility to fake news and a disagreement with Democratic positions on cultural issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, gun control, racism, xenophobia and whatever divisive bullshit the GOP can think up.

The most recent manifestation of this far right bent by the GOP was the selection of Christian nationalist extremist MAGA Mike Johnson to be speaker of the House. Yesterday, Carl Hulse explained how that happened, noting that “The roots of the Republican crackup this fall that paralyzed the House, fueled the unexpected rise of Speaker Mike Johnson and now threatens to force a government shutdown crisis early next year lie in a fateful choice the party made more than a decade ago that has come back to haunt its leaders. In early 2009, congressional Republicans were staring down a long exile in the political wilderness. Barack Obama was about to assume the presidency, and Democrats were within reach of a filibuster-proof, 60-vote supermajority in the Senate and the largest House majority in more than 20 years after the economic crisis of 2008. But Republicans saw a glimmer of hope in the energized far-right populist movement that emerged out of a backlash to Obama— the first Black president— and his party’s aggressive economic and social agenda, which included a federal health care plan. Republicans seized on the Tea Party and associated groups, with their nativist leanings and vehemently anti-establishment impulses, as their ticket back to power… [A]nti-tax, pro-business Republicans set out to harness that rage to achieve their party’s longstanding aims. But instead, the movement consumed them.”

Hulse wrote that MAGA Mike, “who identifies as an archconservative, is the natural heir to the political tumult that began with the Tea Party before evolving into Trumpism. It is now embodied in its purest form by the Freedom Caucus, the uncompromising group of [fascists] who have tied up the House with their demands for steep spending cuts. And the situation won’t get any easier when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving respite to confront its unsettled spending issues and what to do about assistance to Israel and Ukraine. The ranks of more traditional Republicans have been significantly thinned after the far right turned on them in successive election cycles. They have been driven out of Congress in frustration or knocked out in primaries, which have become the decisive contests in the nation’s heavily gerrymandered House districts.”

Leading congressional Republicans were leery of the Tea Party’s thinly veiled racism, illustrated by insulting references to Obama and the questioning of his birthplace, though they said they saw the activists as mainly motivated by an anti-tax, anti-government fervor.
Traditional Republicans appeared at Tea Party rallies where they were barely tolerated, while the far-right Representatives Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Steve King of Iowa, then outliers in the party, were the stars. They tried to mollify activists with tough talk on taxes and beating back the Obama agenda, but saw mixed results.
…But the Tea Party paid huge electoral benefits to the House GOP in 2010, as it swept out Democrats and swept in scores of relatively unknown far-right conservatives, some of whom would scorn their own leaders as much as the Democrats. The steady march to the modern House Republican Conference had begun.

Yesterday, Chris Christie was on State of the Union sounding very much not like a Republican, which helps explain why the most recent national GOP polling (Emerson) shows him with just 3% report, not lest less than Trump (64%), but less than Haley (9%), DeSantis (8%) and Ramaswamy (5%). There have been no polls in November than show him doing any better. Republican voters don’t want to hear his message, like blaming Trump for a rise in anti-Semitism. “When you show intolerance toward everyone, which is what [Trump] does, you give permission as a leader for others to have their intolerance come out. Intolerance toward anyone encourages intolerance toward everyone... I believe Donald Trump’s intolerant language and conduct gives others permission to act the same.”

Meanwhile MAGA Mike and his caucus are doing everything Trump wants: a government shutdown, chaos and dysfunction, impeachments of Biden and his cabinet secretaries and now a revisit of Trump’s attempted coup, which you would think a sane Republican would want to bury. But Trump’s closest mouthpiece on Capitol Hill, deranged QAnon fanatic Marjorie Traitor Greene, is demanding it.

Marjorie Traitor Greene represents a backward gerrymandered district in northwest Georgia where her constituents are as extreme, delusional and willfully ignorant and she is. In 2020 Trump beat Biden there 68.1% to 30.7%. And two years later, Traitor Greene was reelected 65.9% to 34.1%. Here's some more disinformation she posted on social media yesterday. Everything about it is a typical neo-fascist lie... except the red MAGA baseball cap.



Yeah... kinda.

"far-right populist movement that emerged out of a backlash to Obama— the first Black president— and his party’s aggressive economic and social agenda, which included a federal health care plan."

Well, far right, yes. populist, also yes... among white racists. But anyone paying attention to obamanation from day 1, as he nom'd one utterly corrupt fascist after another to cabinet positions; and who knew that he gave his health INSURANCE plan over to Liz Fowler to write, a lead lobbyist for that corporate sector, would not call it a "federal health CARE plan". And his "agressive economic agenda" was one which backstopped the rich and did jack shit for the 11 million who lost jobs and homes…

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